Baptiste Trotignon: Share

Baptiste Trotignon lives up to the expectations foisted on him as a French pianist. He exhibits control with a gentle touch as he toggles between having a firm hold on the definition of the melodic patterns and moving with romantic caresses through the ruminating phrases. His latest offering, Share, is a compilation of the various forms of interaction that he and his band mates staple, layer and glue together as they share their musical ideas with one another. Accompanied by saxophonist Mark Turner, flugelhornist Tom Harrell, bassist Matt Renman, and drummers Eric Harland and Otis Brown III, Share rotates through several stages from the mayhem of “Red Light District” to the serenity that envelopes “Vibe.” The honesty in the group’s performance is reassuring that musicians left up to their own devices are able to make striking compositions.

The group transitions seamlessly from the soft, thoughtful flutters of “Blue” to the exuberant outbursts of “Grey” and the swing-inspired rhythmic flapping of “First Song.” Trotignon’s piano phrases soar to a feverish pitch in “Mon Ange,” and sketch episodes of recoiling motions which form ghostly shadows in the backdrop of “Flow” as the horns fill in the upper register. The foppish style of the horns in “Dexter” exude a nightclub ambience while the silky feel of the piano keys in “Samsara” induce a candlelight setting. The melodic movements of the horns glide like melted butter across “Blue” as Trotignon’s piano keys infuse delicate steeples along the piece. The echoes of crashing cymbals in the undertow of “Peace” add a subliminal layer to the somber tone of Trotignon’s piano keys producing a dream-like effect.

Share speaks in a common language that is universally understood. The dialogue generated by the musicians has a free-spirit that is impossible to duplicate though the rapport is stimulating. This is Trotignon’s eighth album as a leader and with it, he has achieved a level of improvisation that shows an artist’s muse is sometimes right in front of him in the form of his collaborators.